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Chronic Life: How Weed Helps Manage Chronic Pain

Chuck Coker
As the cannabis legalization debate blazes furiously through the United States, our UK-based columnist Moxie McMurder weighs in on her personal usage and the situation across the pond.

Chronic pain and I have been in a relationship for five years.

Photo credit: Chuck Coker

And I’ve found that cannabis helps me balance that relationship. While I can’t say for sure if cannabis makes a difference to my pain levels I can say it definitely helps with my muscle spasms, hand tremors, insomnia, anxiety and stress.

I’m constantly in pain and discomfort and, in a life that’s gone from being active and sociable to being practically a shut-in, one of my greatest little joys is rolling a joint. The irony of course is that when my hand tremors are bad, rolling a joint is a task best described as precarious.

I have two prolapsed discs, one of which is crushing a nerve; degenerative disc disease; an annular tear in my neck and chronic pain. I also have clinical depression and anxiety. Due to all this, I take a lot of medications which make it hard for me to gauge how cannabis affects my pain levels, but the plant certainly makes my days more bearable. There are days when I want to give up; I hurt like hell and I don’t want to get out of bed; I struggle to be positive.

But don’t take my word for it – Here’s The Science!

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both natural chemicals found in the cannabis plant. THC is psychoactive and CBD is not.

The science says that by working with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, which controls pain and inflammation, cannabis is actually one of the best painkillers to use – if you can find the right strain of cannabis with the right levels of THC and CBD. One of the great things about the legalization of cannabis is the variety of strains available and of course, you don’t have to smoke it. These days, in dispensaries across America and in places all over the world, there are cannabis sweets, drinks, pills, cookies – you name it, you can put weed in it!

Cannabis is legal in twenty-nine US states, with seven states and the District of Columbia adopting the most expansive laws regarding marijuana for recreational use. In the states that allow medical marijuana, it can be prescribed for conditions such as anorexia, migraines, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

But in the UK, cannabis is still illegal and rarely endorsed for medical use. Although there is a cannabis-based medication available in the UK called Sativex, designed for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis, only a handful of specialist doctors will prescribe it.

Photo credit: Dash D

I’m not sure if cannabis will ever be legal in my country, whether medicinal or recreational. Sure, I’d like to believe we’ll see the UK follow in America’s footsteps, no doubt when they can see the long-term tax benefits, but I’m also very aware of who is making these decisions in government. They are the same people who said, in response to a report that supported the claim of benefits of medical cannabis, that “cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health.”

Even if I wasn’t a smoker, I would still want cannabis to be legalized. The benefits far outweigh the perceived negatives. The outdated laws regarding cannabis use in the UK makes criminals out of everyday people. Legalizing cannabis will not create chaos or moral decay; instead, it will create jobs, it will create revenue which will be taxed and can go straight back into the community, it will lessen the amount of people in prisons, and it will benefit the sick. Who can argue with that?

Moxie McMurder is a writer, poet, and film critic who regularly contributes to Honeysuckle Magazine. Based in the UK, she is the staff film critic for Garden City Cinema. The founder of Lead Jammer Magazine, Moxie’s work has also been featured frequently on MoviePilot and Medium. She is the author of the novella Blood Sings. Visit her blogs Moxie McMurder and A Shared Madness, and follow her on Twitter to learn more.

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